Hurricane Sally (landfall September 16, 2020)
I wish I was writing this post under better circumstances, but as they say, "it is what it is". Let me first say that Janet, Austin, and I are fine as are our dogs Salty and Annabelle.
We had been carefully watching the development of Hurricane Sally. This was the storm that came from nowhere, moving across Florida as a disturbance and stalling in the Gulf of Mexico. The National Hurricane Center first gave it a track towards Louisiana, about 350 miles west of us. But we watched as slow but sure the model runs started trending east. Equally worrying, this was a slow moving storm - first predicted to be a Tropical Storm. But as it moved at a snails pace over the Gulf (3 mph), it grew in magnitude and its path became unpredictable.
Here's what we got
As Morning Light Came
|Midnight Sun III pinned by tree|
|Tree laying across Bows|
|Debris in our yard|
|Everyone had debris from destroyed docks|
|About 50 percent shingles missing from roof|
When Friends Really Count
- Our daughter Helen immediately loaded up with tarps, chainsaw, gas, rubber boots.......you name it; and drove down (10 hours) from Tennessee. Then climbed on the roof with Austin (our son) and I to tar holes and place tarps. Helen and Austin - we love you and can't imagine what we would have done without you!
- Friend and former colleague Jeff Simons similarly drove from Birmingham and helped for 3 days. Cutting and moving debris and anything else he could lend a hand with. Jeff was similarly amazing - thank you so much.....words can't describe!
- Sailing friends Larry and Tracy and their son Taylor were there despite having damage to their own boat. They started the process of cutting away tree limbs off the boat........and many other things - thank you guys! You are the best as always! The job was looking too big and we needed a heavy lift, so I started the search for a crew with a crane.
- Jared Patterson came to lend a hand with removal
- Shaun West and Casey Kimberley arrived.......on a tractor loaned to them by Pirates Cove Bar.. now that was a true "God-send" Shaun spent the better part of a day
|Shaun and Pirates Cove Tractor|
- And of course all of our neighbors helped each other where we could. Mike, Cathy, Ron and Cindy - thank you! But a special thank you to neighbors Paula and Kenny for allowing heavy equipment access by their driveway!
- Pirates Cove Bar made burgers for the neighborhood and gave away beer for 2 days, despite having their bar/grill essentially destroyed.
- The adjacent neighborhood (Stone Quarry) made BBQ for several hundred people
- The Red Cross showed up with meals, tools, water and supplies.
Saving Midnight Sun
I got a couple of tree services to quote......after sticker shock, I hired the one that had the crane available. 4 guys and a crane from Trinity Excavating worked for 2 days to remove the tree, and recover the mast from the canal. They did it "piece by piece" (just like eating an elephant). They caused no further damage - which was amazing!.
- no holes!
- bent stanchions and hardware
- scratches seem superficial
- some damage to solar panels
- broken mast
- and I am sure we will find more as we get into it
- After tree removal, it took 60 man-hours to clean off the sawdust and staining from the tree and debris. I pressure washed her 3 times, and had to chemically clean the decks, coachroof, and cockpit.
The bottom line is - she is saved and repairable! Midnight Sun III will sail again! How long it will take to get a new mast from France......???? we shall see. But our good friends at Zern Rigging are already starting the process.